Israel captures Fatah leader who planned unconventional attack

Special to World
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

TEL AVIV Israel has captured an insurgency commander in the northern West Bank who planned a nonconventional attack against the Jewish state.

Israeli military sources said a combined force of infantry troops and intelligence agents captured Imad Mazuz Ali Akuba on May 28. The sources identified Akuba as a senior operative of the Fatah insurgency in Nablus who planned both conventional and unconventional attacks against Israel.

"Akuba also planned to attempt and carry out other explosive device attacks, with explosives carrying blood infected by the Aids virus," a military source said.

Akuba, 29, was said to have been responsible for numerous suicide attacks in Israel. Akuba was said to have directed the production of explosive belts and devices.

The sources said Akuba also oversaw the recruitment of suicide bombers. He also handled the recruits and designated targets.

Nablus was said to have been a major Fatah stronghold in the West Bank. Fatah cells have engaged in both insurgency as well as criminal activity, including attacks on Palestinian merchants.

Akuba was said to have planned attacks with such groups as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In January 2004, Akuba directed a suicide bombing plot in a major Israeli city in cooperation with Jihad operatives. The explosive belt accidentally detonated before his target.

In June 2003, Akuba also recruited a Palestinian to blow himself up in a restaurant in the Israeli city of Holon. The attack was aborted. In February 2004, Akuba was ordered to recruit a suicide attacker in cooperation with Fatah in Jenin.

In March 2002, Akuba was responsible for the production of an explosive belt for an operative meant to carry out a suicide attack at the entrance to the Israeli city of Ariel, the sources said. Ten Israeli civilians and soldiers were wounded in the bombing.

The last major attack planned by Akuba was in March 2004. The sources said Akuba directed an insurgency from a village near the West Bank city of Kalkilya launch a shooting and grenade attack against an Israeli bus.

On Tuesday, Israeli security sources said nine Islamic Jihad insurgents were captured in the West Bank city of Kalkilya. The sources said the insurgents were accused of seeking to place bombs along the newly-established security fence.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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